DRF News

CFP: Society for Disability Studies – 26th Annual Conference (June 2013, USA)

Event: Society for Disability Studies – 26th annual meeting
Date: Wednesday, June 19th – Saturday, June 22nd, 2013
Place: Double-by-Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida, USA
Deadline for submissions: 21st November 2012 at http://www.disstudies.org

(Re)creating Our Lived Realities

In honor of its 26th annual meeting convening in Orlando, Florida – the land of make-believe, the home of Disney World and Universal Studios – the program committee of the Society for Disability Studies would like to encourage you to think about the ways in which we create and re-create our lived realities. We would like you to think not only about disabled people as complexly embodied historical actors, but also about the many social, economic, physiological, and political forces that shape, and often constrain, our lived realities. As people situated at the intersection of local and global histories, systems, and structures, we are constantly shaping and molding our social, cultural, and built environment(s). And they in turn affect us in innumerable ways. Nothing we do or say, or have done, can be divorced from its social and historical context, nor can it be isolated from the many human relations through which it emerges. While all proposals that explore these themes are welcome, the program committee especially seeks to solicit work that explores the interesting interactions among larger systems or structures, such as global capitalism, neoliberalism, militarism, and our immediate corporeal experiences – pleasure, pain, sex, illness, debility, a ride at Disney World or a walk through Epcot Center.

We offer the following broad questions to foster interdisciplinary perspectives and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration:

  • What are the many ways in which disabled people have conceptualized and enacted changes to the built environment and to the many things with which we interact on a daily basis? What barriers do people who experience disability face? How have these things changed over time?
  • What happens when local understandings, strategies, and ways of being meet up with more globalizing ones?
  • What new possibilities for change do such intersections produce, and, alternatively, where do we find disconnects that thwart cooperation?
  • How have various technologies–and access to them–shaped the formation of disabled identities and cultures, as well as interpersonal and group relationships?
  • In what ways are the realities we create bounded or shaped by geographic location, institutional formation, identity politics, and other factors?
  • What do collisions between the local and the global reveal about our experiences? What do they obscure?
  • How have disability politics and activism shaped not only the built environment, but human relations as well?
  • How does enduring poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, and the persistence of the medical and charity model shape / limit access to the many realities we create in our lives? How do these factors also open possibilities? How have these factors enhanced disability rights?
  • How have the various disciplines within disability studies explored and analyzed the built environment? What are the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches?
  • How have/might the various disciplines and fields within disability studies work across disciplinary boundaries to enhance the quality of our lives?
  • How have/might disability studies reach out to local and national organizations and institutions to influence families, religious communities, service providers, political institutions, employers, etc.?
  • How does a focus on Lived Realities influence research methods, theory, and the underpinnings of disability scholarship and practice?
  • How have prevailing (contemporary) paradigms (or narratives) succeeded or failed in capturing “our lived realities”? 

We welcome proposals in all areas of disability studies, especially those submissions premised on this year’s theme.

This year’s program committee is continuing the idea of specific “strands” that relate to the larger more general theme of the SDS conference. Each strand may have 3 or 4 related events (e.g. panels, workshops), organized to occur throughout the conference and in a way that will eliminate any overlap of sessions in an effort to facilitate a more sustained discussion of specific issues that have arisen as areas of interest within the organization.  Planned strands this year can be found here (scroll down).  If you would like your proposal to be considered as part of one of these thematic strands, mark this in your submission.

More information on session formats, terms of participation, delegate responsibilities for ensuring accessibility, audio/visual information, awards and submission agreement can be found here (scroll down).  

For further information contact the Program Committee of the SDS 2013 program committee at SDSprogram@disstudies.org

DRF News

CFP: Annual Pacific Rim Conference ‘Disability Studies as a Performative Act’ (April 2013; USA)

Event: Annual Pacific Rim Conference: www.pacrim.hawaii.edu
Date: 29th – 30th April 2013
Place: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Disability Studies as a Performative Act

Disability Studies and Culture can be approached from a plethora of angles. As Sandahl and Auslander write, “How do performance events contribute to disability “cultures,” disability identities, and communication between disabled and nondisabled people? What do these performances reveal about who is on the inside of disability culture and who is on the outside? What collaborative strategies have disabled and nondisabled artists used to bridge the gap between their experiences? Are these collaborations equal exchanges between mutually consenting partners, especially when the disabled artists include those with cognitive impairments or the institutionalized.”

The 2013 Disability Studies and Culture topic area will focus on the complexity of identities and how such identities are performed, represented and negotiated. Particular avenues to explore are disability identities in performance art, performing everyday acts, performing political acts and performing Disability Studies. Questions and topics to be submitted for consideration as presentations, posters, or papers might include any of topics in the preceding paragraph. Other topic ideas include:

  • What might it mean to call disability a performance? Who’s performing? Who are they performing for?
  • How have disability studies changed in the twenty-first century?
  • How has disability culture changed in the twenty-first century?
  • How has expansion of disability studies curriculum into traditional fields changed disability studies? traditional fields?
  • How might online classes have changed the way disability studies is presented (performed)?

We would also like to invite abstract submissions for performances related to Disability Studies and Culture.

We welcome proposals in any presentation format. Please see presentation formats on our Web page at: http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/submissions/presenters/formats/.

Please check the criteria for each format and ensure that you have the appropriate number of presenters for your chosen format. You may submit proposals online at: http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/submissions or send your proposals via email to prcall@hawaii.edu.

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For more information about this topic area, contact: Steve Brown, sebrown@hawaii.edu, 808-956-0996, Holly Manaseri, hmanser@hawaii.edu, 808-956-9218, Norma Jean Stodden, nstodden@hawaii.edu, 808-956-4454, or Megan Conway, mconway@hawaii.edu, 808-956-6166. For general information on the conference, please contact Charmaine Crockett at cccrocke@hawaii.edu, (808) 956-7539.

DRF News

CCDS Event: The Bhopal Disaster, Literature, and Charity Advertising (November 2012, UK)

Event: Centre for Culture & Disability Studies (CCDS) Research Seminar 

Date: Wednesday 7th November 2012: 2.15pm-3.45pm ~ Venue: Eden, 109, Liverpool Hope University, UK. 

Brief Description:

The Bhopal Disaster, Literature, and Charity Advertising ~ Dr. Clare Barker (University of Leeds, UK)

The 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy was the world’s worst industrial disaster. It has killed 25,000 people to date, injured many thousands more, and is still causing sickness and disabilities nearly 30 years later due to toxic chemicals in the city’s groundwater supply. Dr. Clare Barker considers representations of the disabled inhabitants of Bhopal in both charity advertising and literary works relating to the disaster, in particular Indra Sinha’s Booker Prize-shortlisted novel Animal’s People (2007). As a former advertising copywriter, Sinha was instrumental in setting up the Bhopal Medical Appeal in the UK and is still involved in its activities. Dr. Barker contends that there is a productive synergy between literature and advertising in the BMA’s campaigns: while disability charities frequently rely on tropes of helplessness and pity, often supported by sensational or sentimental images of disabled children, Dr. Barker argues that the BMA engages with fictional narrative techniques and consequently achieves more empowering representations in its publicity. As a complement to this, Animal’s People contributes to the BMA’s agenda by promoting awareness of Bhopal’s unresolved medical crises while also interrogating the politics of “western” medical aid interventions and problematizing the representational strategies of charity discourse. Dr. Barker considers literature’s role within health activism and points to ways in which literary texts such as Animal’s People might be used to inform the representations of disability and medical aid within charities’ campaign strategies.

Clare Barker is Lecturer in English at the University of Leeds. She is author of Postcolonial Fiction and Disability: Exceptional Children, Metaphor and Materiality (2012) and guest editor, with Stuart Murray, of a special issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, namely, Disabling Postcolonialism: Global Disability Cultures and Democratic Criticism (2010).

For further information from the organisers, please contact: Dr. David Bolt: boltd@hope.ac.uk

DRF News

CFP: Nordic Network on Disability Research (NNDR) Conference (May 3013, Finland)

Nordic Network on Disability Research and Finnish Association of Disability Research wish to announce that the submission of abstracts and proposals for symposia for NNDR 2013 conference has been opened.

Event: Nordic Network on Disability Research Conference 2013

Date: 30th-31st May 2013

Venue: Turku, Finland.


The conference brings together researchers, policy makers, activists and practitioners to share scholarship and ideas, and provides a forum for Nordic and international collaboration in disability studies.

Keynote speakers are Eva Feder Kittay, Dan Goodley, Jan Grue and Kalle Könkkölä.

The conference welcomes a wide range of contributions applying social, cultural, historical and philosophical perspectives on the study of disability. Participants have the opportunity to present papers in thematic sessions, in symposia, and give poster presentations.

Deadline for submission of abstracts is 3rd December, 2012. To submit your abstract, please go to http://www.nndr2013.fi/

DRF News

Event: Education meets Disability Studies Evening Seminar, Oct. 2012: Sheffield, UK

Event: Education Research Seminar Series joins forces with the DRF for…

Date/Time: Tuesday, 16th October 2012 @ 5.30pm (tea/coffee from 5.00pm)

Venue: Room 10212, Arundel Building, Charles Street, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University


“Teaching Disability — Disability as Teacher” ~ Dr. Rod Michalko

Abstract: In contemporary times, disability is very often understood as something about which expertize can be gleaned.  From this, experts are manufactured and head out to teach disabled and non-disabled people alike about disability.  This talk examines this process but with a twist; it aims to explore expertize rather than disability.  It will raise and engage the following questions: How do we make disability a topic for research and its subsequent knowledge production?  Do we ignore disability when we do so?  Can disability teach experts and others about what expertize in disability means?  Finally, can our disabilities teach all of us something about what it means to be human?

Bio: Dr. Rod Michalko is in his first year of retirement from teaching sociology and disability studies at the University of Toronto.  He is author of numerous articles and four books, including a co-edited book with Dr. Tanya Titchkosky titled, Rethinking Normalcy. All of Rod’s work begins, and sometimes ends, with his blindness, leaving some people to stipulate that he is doing “blind studies” and not “disability studies.” Rod, though, is not concerned with these labels as much as he is with taking disability seriously and embracing the fun it offers.  He is thrilled to be retired and even more thrilled to be in the UK. 

“Why Critical Education Studies needs Disability Studies” ~ Dr. Tanya Titchkosky, Department of Humanities, Social Science and Social Justice Education, University of Toronto

Abstract: In July, 2011 a fire evacuation occurred on the final day of the international Disability Studies Summer Institute hosted by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto.  This talk narrates this evacuation.  I will relate this evacuation to a group of scholars in their embodied particularity, but I will do so in a way that resists simply pointing to disability’s precarious inclusion in education.  Beginning in the midst of the various ways that the evacuation was made sensible, my analysis aims to proceed to the heart of our consciousness of what we do and do not mean for each other within educational environments.  By showing four basic moves key to disability studies, my talk will demonstrate why disability studies enhances any critical examination of education even in the face of fires and evacuations in normative space.  If a disability studies perspective can change how evacuations are thought of, imagine what it might be able to achieve in the ordinary day-to-day life of the classroom and our lives together?  

Bio: Dr. Tanya Titchkosky is Associate Professor in the newly reconfigured Department of Humanities, Social Science and Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.  Her teaching and research are in the areas of disability studies in education and interpretive sociology informed by critical race, feminist and queer theory.  Through these various scholarly endeavors, as they intersect with her dyslexia as well as a more philosophical version of sociology, Tanya has authored three books:  The Question of Access (2011); Reading and Writing Disability Differently (2007) ; Disability, Self and Society (2003).  She has also co-edited with Dr. Rod Michalko, Rethinking Normalcy (2009).  Tanya’s teaching and writing aims at showing that while disability is a social issue that has been invited to the table of critical inquiry rather late, it is nonetheless a fascinating seat from which to rethink everyday conceptions of deviance and normalcy, inclusion and exclusion, human and its others. 

  • To confirm attendance and/or directions to the venue, please contact Ian Chesters on I.Chesters@shu.ac.uk  or 0114 225 6060.